Chasson: Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Quartet in D, Op. 21

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

LABELS: Saphir Productions
WORKS: Concert for Violin, Piano and String Quartet in D, Op. 21; La chanson perpétuelle, Op. 37; String Quartet in C minor, Op. 35
PERFORMER: Sandrine Piau (soprano), Régis Pasquier (violin), Philippe Bianconi (piano); Quatuor Parisii


Chausson’s chamber music and songs are sadly still a poor relation in the concert hall to the better-known Debussy and Franck, despite their sterling quality and strength of personality. The Concert is one of his greatest works and among his most experimental efforts in form.

The concept is akin to Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos – two solo instruments which also blend into the ensemble – yet the language itself leans heavily towards Wagner. 

Régis Pasquier and Philippe Bianconi respond to its heady emotions, positively carried away in their first soaring solo. The second movement, a delicate Sicilienne, and the third movement Grave, suffer from lack of flowing momentum (here Graffin, Devoyon and the Chilingirian Quartet on Hyperion are exemplary), but overall it’s an involving performance. 


Sandrine Piau’s very pure soprano well suits the betrayed and suicidal heroine of the Chanson perpétuelle. The String Quartet as a work does not have quite the same definition and consistency as the Concert, but it’s a welcome completion for a beautiful disc. Jessica Duchen